As the Toronto Raptors look to bounce back from a second round playoff exit, Norman Powell and Delon Wright are ready for heavier workloads.
The Raptors have lost a couple of pieces this offseason in their efforts to slim down, alleviate some salary and make a run at a big time free agent. That didn’t happen. Now, DeMarre Carroll, P.J. Tucker, Cory Joseph and Patrick Patterson are no longer with the team, leaving room for Norman Powell and Delon Wright to take over.
“I think it’s a big opportunity for both of us,” said Wright to theScore on Friday at the Nike Crown League in Toronto. “It’s time for us to show what we can do and take it to the next level.”
Powell then chimed in: “For Toronto, they know that we’re on the Raptors, to come out after the season and show face, give them a show, give them something to look forward going into this year. It was a lot of fun.”
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Of the two, Powell is more acquainted with the Raptors rotation. The 24-year-old wrapped up his second season where he averaged 18.0 minutes a night and produced 8.4 points and 2.2 rebounds while shooting 44.9 percent from the field. During the playoffs, Powell raised his game significantly and became Toronto’s most valued three-and-D guy; he posted 11.7 points and shot 44.1 percent from three.
In his two seasons, Wright’s had a hard time cracking the rotation behind Cory Joseph and Kyle Lowry. Last year, he averaged a career-best 16.5 minutes a night. With Joseph gone, Wright is going to be battling Powell for the time at backup point guard. Even though most of Powell’s minutes will come at shooting guard or small forward, he can act as a secondary ball handler.
Wright averaged 5.6 points and 2.1 assists a night but shot just 42.2 percent overall. Once the playoffs rolled around, the 6-5 floor general barely cracked 10 minutes (10.2) a night.
Powell is more likely to make an immediate impact with his bigger role. Wright has shown flashes and might get there eventually, but he’s still developing, and Toronto isn’t in the position where they can throw raw players out on the floor and for them to make plays.
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